May 10, 2015 at 7:57AM

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Why I Hate Crowdfunding.

I rant about this to my friends who are not into film because when I talk about putting together the money for a shoot they always say "crowd fund it" like that is the only way to fund a film nowadays. I truly believe that this way of thinking makes people lazy and a lot of projects never happen because people don't want to use their own money or tailor their project to their budgets.

I recently DP'd a trailer for a comedy. The producer's plan is to shoot the feature in July. But shooting the feature is contingent on raising ten thousand dollars on the films Gofundme page. I don't come from a rich family, but as an adult I don't think that ten thousand dollars is a lot of money to save yourself. It may take a while but it can be done. Rome wasn't built in a day and Stephens Kings Dark Tower series still isn't even in preproduction last time I checked. Things take time, especially great things. The film itself says nothing. It will not change anything in the world. It will not cause people to think more. Not that every film has to do that. But I just don't agree with crowdfunding every project. This is just my opinion. I feel that there are so many people in the way of actual good projects because of crowdfunding websites. I feel that a lot of these people would never even try to make movies if crowdfunding did not exist. They would have to crowd fund the old school way, by working, saving their own money and asking friends, family and investors to borrow money.

The flip side of my argument is that there are parents somewhere with very sick children who can't afford treatments they need so they try to raise money from strangers so that their children can live. I'm pretty sure they're thinking that there are so many bullshit film projects and other vanity projects on the websites that cause their cause to be buried and less likely to be seen.

I'm sick of everyone in this country asking for handouts. Big corporations down to welfare recipients and now crowdfundees. It's a free country and people can do what ever the hell they want with their money but I don't have to agree with it. Rant finished.

11 Comments

Crowdfunding works best when you've got an established social media fan base, so people already know your work and are happy to help fund your new projects. I have contributed to a bunch of crowdfunding projects and I am totally happy that I did.

I do agree that some people want to crowdfund their projects but they have no track record and no real fan base, so you're never sure what you're supporting.

But then there are others like the "Kung Fury" KickStarter campaign that looks like the greatest Indie action movie of all time...

KUNG FURY KickStarter page
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kungfury/kung-fury/video_share

May 10, 2015 at 2:14PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
28574

Kung Fury looks really great. I totally agree with you about having a following contribute to your project. A lot of people despised the Veronica Mars kickstarter. I personally thought it was really cool to have fans participate in the funding of something they really want to see. I'd donate half a years salary to a "Soprano's: The Early Years" kickstarter campaign. Or if they would have ran a crowd funding campaign for Better Call Saul I would have definitely donated. I didn't mean to condemn all crowd funding (I should have been clear of that in my anger). There are just so many people with no love for the medium taking up space and standing in the way of projects that should actually be on screen.

May 13, 2015 at 2:09PM

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Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1049

I supported the Veronica Mars kickstarter because I was happy to kick in a little cash to see a "reunion" film of most of the characters from the show.

Kung Fury was another no-brainer because of the talent and creativity displayed in their kickstarter trailer was amazing.

As film-makers we need to support other Indie artists when we can.

May 13, 2015 at 2:40PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
28574

I do agree with you, Don.

I did a crowdfunding campaign for my first feature but for all the work that I put into the campaign (it really was a full time job) I would have found it easier and less stressful to just spend that time working at my part time job and saving the money myself. I made almost $9k from my Indie-GoGo campaign, but because I didn't reach my goal I had to pay about 14% in fees all up. I also spent a decent chunk of money trying to make the pitch video and design a web site for the launch of my project. In hindsight that money would have been better spent going into the film (my total budget ended up being $25k). Most of the people that donated were close friends and family who would have helped me out anyway with small personal donations without going via indie-gogo and having to pay them a portion of my money.
In the end I worked extra hours at my job to make my budget and found ways to cut costs as I went.

May 10, 2015 at 11:50PM, Edited May 10, 11:51PM

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Sophie W.
Filmmaker/Performer
412

I have to disagree with the handout analogy, when a filmmaker is offering perks like a DVD, a T-shirt or digital download through Kickstater or IndieGoGo it's essentially a pre-order and not charity.

That being said, I think you make a good point about bootstrapping a film. Even with a social media following or fan base, a crowdfunding campaign is a helluva a lot of work - especially if you're trying to raise five or even six figures. If all you need is a few thousand dollars, taking a part-time job at night or on weekends and saving might save you a lot of time and effort.

Every situation is different, but I think it's good that crowdfunding is in the mix as an option for filmmakers.

May 12, 2015 at 1:26PM, Edited May 12, 1:31PM

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Andrew Young
Filmmaker / SFX Supervisor
86

I agree that too much crowdfunding leads to an over-saturation of the market for it and some projects stand in the way of other, better ones. Up to this point in my career, I have only worked on projects that were funded myself (I directed) or by the director (and I shot the film). I think that to use your social circle, you have one real shot that you can ask for money from people to fund your film. I am saving my "one time shot" for a film that I feel very strongly about and that I know can succeed/actually make a statement. I also think that I still need to progress as a filmmaker before I can go around spending other people's money on my projects. I have been making films for 6+ years, 2 professionally. Still a ways to go.

May 12, 2015 at 6:43PM

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Same here. I have one project that I will most definitely need wealthy investors or crowd funding to make happen. I know that I will need a track record first to successfully fund it. So the first few are on me and I'm cool with that. There's so much more I need to learn and I'd hate to learn it on someone else's dime. I know I have to use my "one time shot" wisely.

May 13, 2015 at 2:20PM

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Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1049

I don't agree with you, first crowdfunding allows you to see how people react to the project. If it doesn't work then maybe it's just that the project isn't good enough or that the authors are not invested enough. If you make your film out of your own money on your own, how can you know if it please to a wild audience. I think many movies are not worth to be done, crowdfunding help making a first selection.
My advice is to do a crowdfunding AND save money. You will need both as it is difficult to raise enough to cover all the real cost.

You say it's better to borrow to your relative, I think it's the worst idea because chances are big that you won't be able to pay back, it is tough to make money out of a film that is already finished.

Oh and by the way I'm doing a crowdfunding to finish my last feature, don't hesitate to give me some feedback :-)

http://www.kisskissbankbank.com/working-holiday-visa-film

May 14, 2015 at 6:05AM, Edited May 14, 6:14AM

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AvdS
1480

The only thing about crowd funding which makes no sense are established people who ALREADY HAVE MONEY or can easily raise it through banks and investors, but choose gullible fanboys to do it for them the risk-less way. Crowdfunding WAS about a way for people with no money to get projects going, not about celebrities or established wealthy people with careers and connections, duping people far too desperate for content.

Just one man's opinion=)

May 14, 2015 at 8:14AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
890

With the "Veronica Mars" KickStarter campaign it was done to convince 20th Century Fox that there was enough of a fanbase who want to see this movie to justify them kicking in another 10+ million to make it happen. The KickStarter campaign was really only seed money to get the project going.

May 14, 2015 at 12:34PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
28574

A few years ago I worked on what was supposed to be a "short film" but really just turned out to be a vanity project for this model that wanted to try writing and acting (she couldn't do either). After shooting less than half of the script (which wasn't that long. About 20 pages if i remember correctly) she took all of them money from the Kickstarter to pay for photoshoots. She claimed they were for "promotional purposes" but that's not what that money was for. That money was given to you to FINISH THE DAMN MOVIE! Long story short, she misappropriated funds and becase of that this short will probably never be finished.

May 14, 2015 at 6:24PM

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